First, for those that don’t know me, I think I should introduce myself and our farm. I live near Pembridge, on the farm known as The Leen. I married my wife Babs (whose family have farmed this farm for over 100 years) nearly 50 years ago. We farm with our two sons and son-in-law together with their families. We have a dairy herd, a Hereford herd, a broiler chicken enterprise and we make electricity from their waste and farm crops. Other stock includes horses, dogs, hound puppies and ferrets with occasional lambs and pigs thrown in. The farm is quite intensive and covers quite a large area but because of a family interest in wildlife much is given over to that.
Now, we have been locked down for over a month, but thankfully we are all healthy and the farm business continues. At the beginning of last month, we were just pulling out of the worst flooding we have seen for many years. Through the beginning of the month the cows were turned out on abundant grass (they are a grass fed herd) but it soon trod up to a slurry, making them very unhappy. Thankfully we had some reserve silage for them and now the land is dry. Our milk was in massive demand when the panic buying was going on but now demand has dropped away some dairy farmers are having problems selling their milk. However, the chicken remains in good demand and people will always use electricity.
So, the farm is going OK, but what about the wildlife? Again- a bit more background:
We have a long stretch of the River Arrow running through the farm as well as the Curl Brook, many miles of hedgerow, acres of woodland and many farm ponds as well as several fields of permanent wildflower meadow.
I am lucky to have a passionate team of volunteers who have worked now for years to help wildlife on the farm as well as monitor it all. We have all learned a lot and I think achieved a little as well.
I thought I would just record a few of the events that have happened through this dreadful time to give a taste of wildlife happenings that are going on throughout Herefordshire all the time.
We finished cutting truncheons from a local native Black Poplar - our plan is to get 1000 planted around the county; our plan to do tree surgery on an ancient tree is thwarted by a Barn Owl flying out from the hollow tree and further plans to sex each tree in the county is thwarted by Corona!